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TheCannabis Law MRTA provides for 11 different kinds of licenses to cultivate and distribute marijuana in New York. One of these licenses is for premises that sell marijuana to retail customers. As with liquor stores, product must be taken away and may not be consumed on the premises. The dispensaries are also allowed to deliver product to customers.

Here are some of the features of this license.

  • A license applicant must demonstrate control of the business premises, either by owning the real estate, or by having a written and signed lease within 30 days after final approval of the license. The tenant named in the lease must be identical to the name of license applicant.
  • No person may directly or indirectly control or have an interest in more than three retail dispensary licenses.
  • No person holding a retail dispensary license may also have a license for an on-site consumption premises, cultivation, processing, microbusiness, cooperative or distributor license, or be engaged in medical marijuana.
  • No retail dispensary may be located within 500 feet of school grounds or 200 feet of a house of worship.
  • A retail dispensary must be located in a store having a primary entrance at street level on a public thoroughfare in a premises which is zoned for business, trade, or industry.
  • Municipalities may opt out of permitting retail dispensaries within their territory by adopting a local law no later than December 31, 2021. By doing so, a municipality would lose the 4% sales tax imposed on retail sales within their territory. Also, such a law would be subject to a permissive referendum, meaning that the citizens of the municipality could have the issue put up for a vote.
  • Municipalities may also adopt local laws and regulations governing the time, place and manner of operating retail dispensaries, but not so as to make such sites unreasonably impracticable.

As with many other sections of MRTA, detailed regulations have yet to be written. Those regulations may add additional obligations to licensing or operating retail dispensaries. We will continue to monitor developments, so check back with us frequently.

This is not intended to be legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.


Gary M. Schuster is Partner at the firm and practices business, non-profit,  arts and entertainment law marijuana licensing.
He can be reached at  845-764-9656 and by email.

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